Hotel Room Automation and Covid-19: Technological solutions for guest safety
The reopening of the hotel: The gradual increase in the levels of accommodation to be made available to guests, necessitates additional measures of safety to assist in protecting them during the Covid-19 emergency. Lets see how hotel automation for hotels, thanks to technology, can considerably reduce transmission risks, making innovative solutions for the hotel market
To better understand the technological solutions that support the hotel during the Covid-19 emergency, we look at the advantage created through the collaboration with the VDA Group which, to help hoteliers during the recommencement of the hotel operation, immediately made available their room automation and room management technologies.
In particular, and in compliance with the requirements on spacing and health protection, VDA has developed solutions capable of facilitating the work of the system operators in the sector, whilst meeting their guest’s satisfaction.
Among the problems that have been solved, some examples are: the reduction of high contact surfaces (through the limiting or avoiding of the touching of remote controls, switches, and keys), the simplified management of room services (such as breakfast) through the ordering via an app or the interactive TV, the management of the check-in and check-out process (by automating it as much as possible, avoiding uncessary gatherings at the reception area), remote access control (through the opening of doors via an app), the safe interaction for the guests (through disposable/ removable films, applied on different devices within the room).
Room Automation and security through all phases of the guest’s stay.
The main aspects with regard to Room Automation solutions, and compliance with the requirements for health protection are:
Check-in and access control: from booking to check-in VDA’s solutions allow the hotelier to welcome guests safely, quickly, and comfortably. The automatic check-in booth (or self check-in booth) allows one to avoid gatherings of people in queues at reception. Among the available solutions are also thermal cameras, that automatically detect the temperature of the guest, whilst respecting their privacy.
Presence management: guests can enter the room and commence their stay, appreciating the quality of the services, without compromising their safety. The goal is to limit contact with the devices within the room (for example, lighting and air conditioning controls) thanks to a volumetric sensor that enables certain services if the guest is present, and disabling them when they leave the room.
Room Services: through the OnAir platform, the hotelier can communicate directly with his guest that requests room service. This makes it easier to manage the rules and regulations on spacing, communicate important information to the guest, and manage their requests without congesting the switchboard during the busiest times (as for example can take place at breakfast time).
Securing: The safety of all devices in the room, paying special attention to the client, and his health and wellbeing.
Check-out: through the OnAir platform developed by VDA, it is possible to manage this phase in complete safety, avoiding queues at reception, making it more easily able to comply with the rules on distance between people.
In the next paragraphs we explore the proposed solutions in more detail, dividing them according to the different phases of the guest stay.
Check-in: how to guarantee distance
Let us first see the technological solutions that guarantee distance during check-in:
Once the hotel has received a reservation from the guest, the hotel can send back the reservation confirmation, including an invitation to download the EnterPlease app. Through the app, the guest will be given direct access to their room without the need to collect an RFID door key from reception.
Through Self Check-In booths (Totem), the guest registers within the hotel, receiving from the Totem their RFID or digital key that enables them access to their room, and other hotel areas.
- Thermo-cameras for guest temperatures.
Connected through the VDA controllers, a Thermo-camera provides information on the guest’s temperature on arrival, ensuring that it falls within pre-established parameters. The information is taken totally anonymously, and not saved in any form. StayAlso in this case, technology and automation can be of great help, with accessible solutions that limit contact with switches and devices that for example switch on and control the lights, temperature, the TV, and other services present within the room.
- Volumetric sensor
When the guest enters the room, the movement sensor detects his or her presence, thus enabling the services. When the guest leaves the room, the motion sensor notes that there is no presence in the room, and the room returns to the energy-saving mode.
In addition to minimising contact, through this device it is possible to control various room parameters automatically, combining comfort with energy-saving.
- Default presence management
As an alternative to the volumetric sensor, it is possible to activate the “presence of the guest” in a pre-defined way, so enabling all the services automatically within the room. This function may remain active until check-out, or be temporarily inhibited by the hotelier where necessary.
With the OnAir platform, the TV within the guest room becomes a useful communication tool between the guest and the hotel. In fact, through the TV in the room, the hotelier can inform customers, through videos or texts, of what is being carried out in terms of sanitation and prevention. In addition, the guest can book services offered by the hotel, and order breakfast to the room directly through the TV, both simply and intuitively.
The reception will thus have the opportunity to manage requests in an organised manner, avoiding the congestion of the switchboards during the busy times.
Safety and hygiene in the room
Our goal is to ensure safe interaction with the devices in the room, especially for those high-contact objects and surfaces. The solutions proposed to minimise risks and communicate a greater sense of safety and hygiene to the guest, are based on the use of disposable films for remote controls, switches and control devices. Moreover, functions that can be activated with voice commands allow you to limit or eliminate any contact with these objects.
As indicated by the guidelines set by the World Health Organization, for the management of Covid-19 of within the hotel environment it is very important to limit as much as possible the contact between the hands of guests and the objects and surfaces that are most frequently used in the room, to include switches and remote controls.
- Switches with film
VDA glass switches are easy to disinfect and clean, because their surfaces are flat and hole-free. It is also possible to add a removable film to them, to demonstrate that sterilisation of the product has been carried out.
- Remote control with disposable film
Remote controls covered with a plastic shrink wrap that covers the remote control.
- Voice command integration
Interaction with a voice assistant, already developed in partnership with Volara, allows the guest to activate the room functions through voice commands. The voice assistant, together with the developed control systems, are able to make different devices communicate with each other (even if already existing in the structure or provided by third parties).
”Express Check-out” is the technological solution designed to solve crowding problems, as well as to manage the guest’s check-out to be more quick and automatic.
The hotel home automation solution developed by VDA allows you to follow the guest through all phases, with attention to detail, providing easy to manage entry and exit procedures, avoiding unnecessary waiting, whilst at the same time respecting the set safety protocols, and minimum distancing between people.
Consultancy for Hotels and Accommodation Facilities
The VDA Group is an Italian company, with offices in different parts of the world, specialising in the development and implementation of advanced solutions for integrated Room Management, and Interactive Television, mainly for the hotel sector. With more than 250,000 rooms active in some of the world’s most prestigious hotels, for more than 40 years we have been working with leading international hotel brands, confirming our position as a technical partner for tailor-made solutions created to improve the guest experience.